View Full Version : Strategy for a low-stakes NL one-table tournament?

02-06-2004, 04:44 PM
Last Sunday my roommate threw a poker tournament during/after the superbowl. There were 6 of us in the tournament with a $20 buy-in. Normally games like this are "sane" and the tournament will last a couple hours in my limited experience. But these new guys in this tournament were maniacal and would go all-in BEFORE seeing their cards at times. One guy was out of the tournament after the first hand--he had gone all-in before the flop but after he saw his cards (which were something like a K-10o).

I'm a pretty tight player and figured I could get second place if I piggy-backed the game and waited until everyone else got beat out by all the maniacs. The strategy almost worked except that I had two bad beats when I was one of the remaining three players and ended up losing out.

But how do you approach a game like this? Is "piggy-backing" a good strategy? I think my real strategy will be to avoid these games if I can help it, but if it's at my house I might play in a tourney like this again.

Oh yeah, and at the end of the 5th tournament in 3 hours (I quit after the first one), these guys played face-up hold'em where they each put in $20 before they saw their cards. Seemed ridiculous to me since the pot odds and odds of winning were exactly the same, but they wanted to anyway. Oh, and a notable quote: "yeah man, you might as well call since you already have so much in the pot" one guy said to his friend with utmost sincerity. I know I could kill these guys in low-limit or even "sane" NL, but I'm not sure what to do with this super-maniac style.


02-06-2004, 04:52 PM
I'm not familiar with your use of the term "piggy-back", but these kind of maniacs are very beatable.

You can practically sit out every hand and finish 2nd or 3rd. Just sit back and watch them take each other out and pray for no bad beats when you get monster cards. You'll get bled a little with blinds, but with this many maniacs, they'll clear each other out in no time.

I've found that these types are actually more difficult to play with in limit, because every betting round will be capped most of the time. Since it's not a tourney, you'll get enticed to peek at a few hands and lose more per orbit than you would in a NL game, and you can't extract as much with a monster in limit as you can with good timing in NL.

02-06-2004, 05:10 PM
thanks for the advice. It's a good point on the limit games.. you're right in that they may be more difficult in those situations. My use of the term piggy-back was just because it was the only thing I could think of to describe it.. I doubt it's a real term to use.

02-07-2004, 01:20 PM
Tear them up /images/graemlins/smile.gif I used to play with these guys that would play thier hands blind. Boy is it great. They basically just give you their money.

02-07-2004, 02:29 PM
I think my problem is sufficient bankroll... I'm not sure if I can (or I'm at least not comfortable) sustain the swings in a situation like this. Maybe I just need to make sure I only play games where I do have sufficient bankroll. I guess the problem with this particular tournament is that I didn't know ahead of time what to expect.

02-07-2004, 03:13 PM
Hiya Dondo,

But how do you approach a game like this? Is "piggy-backing" a good strategy? I think my real strategy will be to avoid these games if I can help it, but if it's at my house I might play in a tourney like this again.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'd bow out of them, by and large. With that many fish, the game turns into a crap shoot unless you wait them out until they knock each other off. By then, one of them is probably going to have a large enough stack that you'll have to survive several all-ins before you can really make him sweat, and the odds are against that even if you're on the best hand going in.

So ... given your bankroll concerns ... you're probably better off just bowing out on this kind of game.


02-07-2004, 03:36 PM
Sorry, Cris, but I couldn't disagree more. Yes, maniacs can be tough to play, but you should be able to pick your spots and come in the money. Is this a winner take all? If not, I just sit and wait, get my money in with big hands, and get it to heads up.

If we can't make money against the lousy players...who can we hope to make money against?


02-07-2004, 03:59 PM
I don't know if bankroll concerns would make me miss a game where people are betting blind preflop. I fold into second and then concentrate on winning. So where is this game again? /images/graemlins/cool.gif

02-07-2004, 05:22 PM
Hiya CCC,

One or two maniacs are fine. A table full of them will yield wildly unpredictable results, even when played with skill. You can expect a huge variance and wide bankroll swings playing in maniac games of this sort, and while the more skillful player will come out ahead in the long run, there's a high risk of ruin along the way.

Because he said he had bankroll worries about this kind of game, I think it'd be better to bow out of them. Yes, over 100 or 500 or 1000 tourneys, he'll clean up vs. this kind of player. But he'll need a much larger bankroll to absorb the swings.

If I had an unlimited bankroll, heck yes, sign me up. I'll hang around for the long haul, and it'll be a nice haul. /images/graemlins/smile.gif


02-08-2004, 03:43 AM
"Sorry, Cris, but I couldn't disagree more"

me too....this is my dream game.
i need to get more poker-moron friends who play like this.
if the blinds don't increase too rapidly i still don't see why you can't pick your spots....even if every player at the table is playing ridiculously.
obviously they are not ALL going all-in on EVERY hand or else you would be down to one opponent after the first hand.

obviously the strategy for this type of game changes....stealing the blinds from one of these maniacs is going to be tough....but if i sense a chance to double-up it could very well be worth it.
if you think they are likely to defend with almost anything then A-any becomes playable as a blind steal. if they play 5 or 6 of these in a 3 hour period then you should hopefully win the occasion double-up and be able to finish in the money your fair share.

it IS a crapshoot....for them.
for you, pick your spots and win win win.....just like the party 10+1's.
i still don't see what there is to be so afraid of...especially for only $20 a pop.

02-08-2004, 07:18 AM
there are two approaches that work well. one is to loosen up a little in the beginning hoping to catch a big hand while the opponents are in pay-off mode. this increases your chances of getting first place but you will make the money less often than tightening up.

more popular is to play very tight in the early going, especially cutting down on your bluffs, and protecting every hand you have, to prevent going out early on. then when the game gets shorthanded you are more likely to have chips left so you can outplay the opposition later. i prefer this strategy, because most of the online SNG players have no clue how to play when it gets to this point.

all online sites have the same 50-30-20 prize structure, but if you play a different tourney your optimal strategy depends on the payouts, as well as how big the blinds are compared to your stack, and how fast they increase. specifically, the slower you will get blinded out, the tighter and more passively you play. and the more top-heavy the prize structure, the less reward for survival tactics.

02-08-2004, 09:16 PM
Fair enough...and I would agree that I'd rather play with tight passive players than wildly aggressive players any day...